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Poster: stbalbach Date: Oct 29, 2010 10:07pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Emergency Petition to Google: Don't be evil

Thanks for the document. This is part of the larger debate over `network neutrality`.

Everyone likes to talk about government being the boogie man, but history has shown with every new mass media technology: radio, TV, telephone -- they start out free and open but eventually one or a handful of large corporations dominate and control the medium, until there is some revolution that breaks it up (ie. MaBell and MCI in the 80s). It's not government we have to worry about. Just looking at history, I predict the net will become controlled by a few large corporations within a generation or two and it will no longer be neutral (ie. ISPs will charge for using services like P2P). ISPs actually have a good monetary case for it, 90% of the bandwidth is used by 10% of the users, and a lot of that is P2P (and video streaming). It comes down to doing the right thing -vs- quarterly profits.


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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:38pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Emergency Petition to Google: Don't be evil

Comcast's chief operating officer will take over as chief executive of NBC Universal once Comcast officially owns a 51 percent majority stake of the media giant (including MSNBC, CNBC, and all NBC properties).

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Jan 19, 2011 11:00am
Forum: texts Subject: Re: FCC Approves Comcast Takeover of NBC Universal

FCC Approves Comcast Takeover of NBC Universal

The FCC has given final approval to a $30 billion takeover by the nation’s largest cable television company, Comcast, of the television and movie giant NBC Universal. The merger gives Comcast control of the NBC network, the Spanish-language Telemundo, cable channels including MSNBC, dozens of local television stations and the Universal film studio. The FCC vote was four to one, with Commissioner Michael Copps casting the lone dissent vote. Media democracy advocates have widely criticized the merger. Josh Silver of the group Free Press spoke to Democracy Now! on Tuesday.

Josh Silver: "The Comcast-NBC merger is going to increase prices for consumers, it’s going to make independent voices even more scarce on commercial television dials, and it’s going to cut out independent programming even further from the cable dial. Yesterday’s announcement of this merger flies in the face of President Obama’s stated commitment to oppose media consolidation when he was on the campaign trail, and it bodes terribly for the future of the internet. We expect to see higher costs for access, higher costs for cable programming, higher costs for internet access, and, at the end of the day, less choices for consumers and higher prices."

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: May 12, 2011 11:05am
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Emergency Petition to Google: Don't be evil

Meredith Attwell Baker, FCC Commissioner, Joins NBC Universal 4 Months After Approving Comcast Merger

By JOELLE TESSLER - 05/11/11 09:57 PM ET - Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A top telecommunications regulator who voted to approve Comcast Corp.'s takeover of NBC Universal in January is leaving to join the company as a lobbyist.

M. A. Baker
nms_1004.jpgMeredith Attwell Baker, one of two Republicans on the five-member Federal Communications Commission, will become Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for NBC Universal.

Comcast said it did not begin discussions with Baker about a possible job until after the transaction had closed. Baker will leave the FCC on June 3, less than a month before her term was set to expire. She joined the agency in July 2009.

Craig Aaron, head of the public interest group Free Press, called the move an example of "business as usual in Washington – where the complete capture of government by industry barely raises any eyebrows."

Comcast, the nation's largest cable TV company, bought a controlling interest in NBC Universal after the FCC and the Justice Department approved the deal with conditions following a yearlong review. The FCC's vote was 4-1. Comcast has 16.988 million high-speed internet customers as of February 16, 2011.

"I am privileged to have had the opportunity to serve the country at a time of critical transformation in the telecommunications industry," Baker said in a statement. "The continued deployment of our broadband infrastructures will meaningfully impact the lives of all Americans. I am happy to have played a small part in this success."

At the FCC, Baker was a reliable pro-business voice who frequently expressed concern that the agency was imposing unnecessary and onerous regulations on phone and cable companies.

Along with fellow Republican commissioner Robert McDowell, Baker opposed the controversial "network neutrality" rules approved by the commission's three Democrats last year. Those rules, which prohibit phone and cable companies from interfering with Internet traffic on their broadband networks, are now facing legal challenges from Verizon and Metro PCS.

The companies are suing the FCC in the same federal appeals court that ruled against the agency last year in a case involving Comcast. The court said the agency had exceeded its legal authority in sanctioning Comcast for discriminating against online file-sharing traffic on its broadband internet network. The FCC had said that Comcast violated broad net neutrality principles first established by the commission in 2005, which became the foundation of the formal rules adopted last year.

M. K. Powell
Powell_Michael.gifBefore joining the FCC, Baker was head of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where she helped oversee the transition from analog to digital broadcasting. Baker, 43, will be based in Washington and will report to Kyle McSlarrow at Comcast. McSlarrow joined Comcast in April to head the company's Washington operations. McSlarrow previously headed the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. The NCTA is the cable industry's top trade group. After McSlarrow's departure from the NCTA, former FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell (Colin Powell's son) took the helm of the NCTA. Such moves between the private sector and the government are common in Washington. a.k.a. The Revolving Door Policy! Now we know why Michael Powell never met a media merger he didn't like.

This post was modified by dead-head_Monte on 2011-05-12 18:05:37